National Pro Fastpitch has announced the suspension of league operations, effective immediately.
“National Pro Fastpitch is suspending operations effective immediately,” read a statement dated August 1, 2021 and published on social media from the league’s official account on Sunday. “The cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, necessitated by the combination of the COVID pandemic and preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, has effectively shut off all sources of league revenue and necessitated the termination of league staff and other essential services. At this point, resumption of activity is impossible to predict.”
The league most recently saw on-field action in 2019 and cancelled the 2020 league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 summer season was cancelled before the calendar year even arrived, with an announcement that was made on December 3, 2020.
Following the league’s 2019 summer season, the perennial-contender USSSA Pride announced that they would withdraw from the league and continue as an independent professional franchise. The Pride remain active in their independent capacity and have played as recently as July 2021.
“The NPF gave me the opportunity to continue to play softball and to play professionally,” former NPF pitcher Haylie Wagner wrote in a comment on the social media post. Wagner currently serves as a board member and player in Athletes Unlimited.
“And as heartbreaking as this is as the NPF has been so supportive and we still get to play professional softball in the Athletes Unlimited League and that is something special. Thank you NPF for some incredible years!” Wagner’s comment concluded.
League commissioner Cheri Kempf quietly exited her position with the NPF last summer for a full-time role with Athletes Unlimited, a role in which she continues in the present day.
Over the league’s final seasons, Kempf and league officials adopted an international focus, introducing teams that were comprised almost exclusively of foreign countries’ rosters for international play. China, Australia, Canada, and Mexico were among the nations that fielded teams in the NPF and sponsored their national team rosters to play in the league. Ownership of the Chicago Bandits, the longest-standing active franchise at the time of the league’s demise, was held by the Village of Rosemont, owned and operated by the governmental entity where the team’s home ballpark was located.